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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter discovers formation of new Gully on Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A comparison of images taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in November 2010 and May 2013 reveal the formation of a new gully channel on a crater-wall slope in the southern highlands of Mars.

Gully or ravine landforms are common on Mars, particularly in the southern highlands.

This pair of before (left) and after (right) images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter documents formation of a new channel on a Martian slope between 2010 and 2013, likely resulting from activity of carbon-dioxide frost. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

This pair of before (left) and after (right) images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter documents formation of a new channel on a Martian slope between 2010 and 2013, likely resulting from activity of carbon-dioxide frost. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

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NASA’s NEOWISE spacecraft spots it’s first Comet since being reactivated

 

Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft has spotted a never-before-seen comet — its first such discovery since coming out of hibernation late last year.

“We are so pleased to have discovered this frozen visitor from the outermost reaches of our solar system,” said Amy Mainzer, the mission’s principal investigator from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. “This comet is a weirdo – it is in a retrograde orbit, meaning that it orbits the sun in the opposite sense from Earth and the other planets.”

Comet NEOWISE was first observed by NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft on Valentine's Day, 2014.

Comet NEOWISE was first observed by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft on Valentine’s Day, 2014.

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NASA’s Mars Opportunity rover cracks the mystery of the jelly doughnut shaped rock

 

Written by Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – What if a rock that looked like a jelly doughnut suddenly appeared on Mars? That’s just what happened in front of Mars rover Opportunity last month.

Researchers have since determined that the “doughnut” is a piece of a larger rock broken and moved by the rover’s wheels in early January.

Only about 1.5 inches wide (4 centimeters), the white-rimmed, red-centered rock–now called “Pinnacle Island”–caused a stir last month when it appeared in an image the rover took January 8th at a location where it was not present four days earlier.

These two images from Mars rover Opportunity show a rock resembling a jelly donut appearing in January 2014.

These two images from Mars rover Opportunity show a rock resembling a jelly donut appearing in January 2014.

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance, Odyssey orbiters discover Martian Slopes where Water possibly flowed

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA spacecraft orbiting Mars have returned clues for understanding seasonal features that are the strongest indication of possible liquid water that may exist today on the Red Planet.

The features are dark, finger-like markings that advance down some Martian slopes when temperatures rise. The new clues include corresponding seasonal changes in iron minerals on the same slopes and a survey of ground temperatures and other traits at active sites.

This image combines a photograph of seasonal dark flows on a Martian slope with a grid of colors based on data collected by a mineral-mapping spectrometer observing the same area. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA/JHU-APL)

This image combines a photograph of seasonal dark flows on a Martian slope with a grid of colors based on data collected by a mineral-mapping spectrometer observing the same area. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA/JHU-APL)

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter snaps image of new impact Crater on Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Space rocks hitting Mars excavate fresh craters at a pace of more than 200 per year, but few new Mars scars pack as much visual punch as one seen in a NASA image released today.

The image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows a crater about 100 feet (30 meters) in diameter at the center of a radial burst painting the surface with a pattern of bright and dark tones.

A dramatic, fresh impact crater dominates this image taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Nov. 19, 2013.

A dramatic, fresh impact crater dominates this image taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Nov. 19, 2013.

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NASA reports Jupiter’s moon Europa once spun off kilter

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – By analyzing the distinctive cracks lining the icy face of Europa, NASA scientists found evidence that this moon of Jupiter likely spun around a tilted axis at some point.

Europa’s tilt could influence calculations of how much of the moon’s history is recorded in its frozen shell, how much heat is generated by tides in its ocean, and even how long the ocean has been liquid.

This view of Jupiter's moon Europa features several regional-resolution mosaics overlaid on a lower resolution global view for context. The regional views were obtained during several different flybys of the moon by NASA's Galileo mission, and they stretch from high northern to high southern latitudes. Prominent here are the long, arcuate (or arc-shaped) and linear markings called lineae (Latin for strings or threads). (NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona )

This view of Jupiter’s moon Europa features several regional-resolution mosaics overlaid on a lower resolution global view for context. The regional views were obtained during several different flybys of the moon by NASA’s Galileo mission, and they stretch from high northern to high southern latitudes. Prominent here are the long, arcuate (or arc-shaped) and linear markings called lineae (Latin for strings or threads). (NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona )

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NASA sets Mission to Help better understand ways to Mine Asteroids

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Over the last hundred years, the human population has exploded from about 1.5 billion to more than seven billion, driving an ever-increasing demand for resources.

To satisfy civilization’s appetite, communities have expanded recycling efforts while mine operators must explore forbidding frontiers to seek out new deposits, opening mines miles underground or even at the bottom of the ocean.

This is an artist's concept of NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft preparing to take a sample from asteroid Bennu. (Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Chris Meaney)

This is an artist’s concept of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft preparing to take a sample from asteroid Bennu. (Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Chris Meaney)

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter gives overhead view of Curiosity Mars rover

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – An image from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter released shows NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover and the wheel tracks from its landing site to the “Glenelg” area where the rover worked for the first half of 2013.

The orbiter’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera captured the scene on June 27th, 2013, with the orbiter rolled for an eastward-looking angle rather than straight downward. The afternoon sun illuminated the scene from the western sky, so the lighting was nearly behind the camera. This geometry hides shadows and reveals subtle color variations.

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity appears as a bluish dot near the lower right corner of this enhanced-color view from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity appears as a bluish dot near the lower right corner of this enhanced-color view from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

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NASA’s WISE spacecraft observations reveals most Centaurs to be Comets

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The true identity of centaurs, the small celestial bodies orbiting the sun between Jupiter and Neptune, is one of the enduring mysteries of astrophysics. Are they asteroids or comets? A new study of observations from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) finds most centaurs are comets.

Until now, astronomers were not certain whether centaurs are asteroids flung out from the inner solar system or comets traveling in toward the sun from afar. Because of their dual nature, they take their name from the creature in Greek mythology whose head and torso are human and legs are those of a horse.

New observations from NASA's NEOWISE project reveal the hidden nature of centaurs, objects in our solar system that have confounded astronomers for resembling both asteroids and comets. The centaurs, which orbit between Jupiter and Neptune, were named after the mythical half-horse, half-human creatures called centaurs due to their dual nature. This artist's concept shows a centaur creature together with asteroids on the left and comets at right. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

New observations from NASA’s NEOWISE project reveal the hidden nature of centaurs, objects in our solar system that have confounded astronomers for resembling both asteroids and comets. The centaurs, which orbit between Jupiter and Neptune, were named after the mythical half-horse, half-human creatures called centaurs due to their dual nature. This artist’s concept shows a centaur creature together with asteroids on the left and comets at right. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Scientists strike it rich with Meteorite recovery

 

Written by Karen Jenvey
NASA’s Ames Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMoffett Field, CA – Scientists found treasure when they studied a meteorite that was recovered April 22nd, 2012 at Sutter’s Mill, the gold discovery site that led to the 1849 California Gold Rush. Detection of the falling meteorites by Doppler weather radar allowed for rapid recovery so that scientists could study for the first time a primitive meteorite with little exposure to the elements, providing the most pristine look yet at the surface of primitive asteroids.

An international team of 70 researchers reported in an issue of “Science” that this meteorite was classified as a Carbonaceous-Mighei or CM-type carbonaceous chondrite and that they were able to identify for the first time the source region of these meteorites.

Fragments of the Sutter’s Mill meteorite fall collected by NASA Ames and SETI Institute meteor astronomer Dr. Peter Jenniskens in the evening of Tuesday April 24th, two days after the fall. This was the second recovered find. (Image credit: NASA / Eric James)

Fragments of the Sutter’s Mill meteorite fall collected by NASA Ames and SETI Institute meteor astronomer Dr. Peter Jenniskens in the evening of Tuesday April 24th, two days after the fall. This was the second recovered find. (Image credit: NASA / Eric James)

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